Leather goods-maker Perrin Paris opened an elegant kiosk-style store in Hong Kong’s IFC mall, its first outlet in Asia, this spring. The brand’s chairman, Michel Perrin, discussed the strategy behind the cozy, 250-square-foot space.

Why did you decide to start small here?

The store is small, but it’s very well-located. It’s a good way to test the market. The whole idea is to position the brand. So with this store, we can explain who we are. It’s a springboard for the rest of the Asia.

When did you start engaging with Chinese consumers?

We opened a point of sale in SKP Beijing last year. And our store in Paris, which opened in January, is visited at least once a day by Chinese customers. The Paris store was the trigger. I think they are starting to discover us. To me, the essence of luxury is being rare. We are still a small house. We control distribution tightly and we are not overly exposed, so we have some kind of appeal.

How do Mainland Chinese consumers perceive niche brands like yours compared to bigger luxury players?

I think it’s new for them. That’s actually why we are in Hong Kong. It’s very cosmopolitan and fashion-forward. We may not choose to open a store too quickly in China because the market might not be ready for this type of product. We may target Japan or Korea first. [Our bags] are not for everybody — we are not trying to compete with Vuitton or Dior. We are more in the Moynat or Delvaux category.

[Merchandise ranges from about 7,700 to 60,000 Hong Kong dollars, or about $1,000 to $7,740. Bestsellers in the first few months have included the L’Attelage bag, about $1,550; the Le Bavolet bag — $1,175; the L’eiffel Glove clutch — $1,935, and the Le Ball bag, which is priced according to materials used.]

What’s next?

The plan is to open across the harbor [in Kowloon]; it gets us closer to the Chinese market. It’s the next logical move before Shanghai or Beijing. We’ll also open in London within a year.

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